Sunday, 17 June 2012

4. Promising Seedlings

These are some more seedlings - ones which I think are worth keeping an eye on for future selection. To my mind (in daylight and if you look closely...) they show some rather pretty colouring. Some seedlings don't have their first true leaves yet which is an indication of their real size. They're still tiny! Anyhow - here they are:

 L. comptonii
 L. hallii
 L. hookeri
L. comptonii  -  Mesa Gardens 1563.2. I think there's great red, blue and green potential there.
L. hallii - salicola reticulata grey C087a from Francois Hoes. At 0, 20 & 40 minutes I spot some teal, at 25 and 35 minutes, blue.

L. hookeri - v. marginata cerise C087a from Francois Hoes.  I think the one in the centre has a nice orange colour evenly distributed throughout.
 L. verruculosa
 L. dorotheae
 L. gracilidelineata
L. verruculosa -  glabra C160 from Francois Hoes. Here I see blue, green & pink possibilities.
L. dorotheae  - C300 from Francois Hoes. Lovely as always. Greenish, pinkish and a sort of tan one besides the more standard yellow & red one. Should present good opportunities.

L. gracilidelineata - C309. One is pinky & yellow and more spotted than the rest. Could be interesting...
 L. karasmontana
 L. verruculosa
 L. verruculosa
L. karasmontana - lericheana C330 from Francois Hoes. I'm the most excited about these. The three in the centre (most obvious on the one on the right hand side) have wonderful purple stripes which are absent on most of the others. Orange with purple stripes... Now you're talking! (My taste has always tended towards the gawdy).

L. verruculosa – inae from Succseed. I like the variation from brownish to bluish and the one at 45 mins has almost clear aucampiae-like windows.
L. verruculosa - Rose of Texas from Francois Hoes. A nice blue stripe on the side. Yum.

Feline child aka Katastrofes
L. otzeniana - 'Aquamarine' The vibrant green of the new leaves is too lovely.

Feline child on the Lithops table

Thursday, 7 June 2012

3. Lithops Potting Mix

I think Lithops do well in a potting mixture which is largely sandy and very well drained. Water should run through it freely without forming a dam in the pot and it should not stay wet for days on end. However, there should be a small percentage of smaller particles in the mixture or it may happen (especially when repotting / transplanting) that the roots end up hanging in an air pocket without making sufficient contact with the soil. You find that even after repeated watering the plant just doesn’t take off. The roots need to make proper contact with the soil and having too many large air filled spaces makes this difficult.

I use (by volume):
*1 part washed small gravel
1 part washed medium sand
3 parts washed fine sand. It should flow freely and not resemble talcum powder.
1 part coco peat / coir or peat moss
1 part potting “soil” which is in fact well composted bark
1 part unwashed gravel (probably contains about 5% soil)
0.5 parts sandy soil.




When combined the mixture consists of roughly:
35% non absorbent stone
35% sand
24% organic material
6% sandy soil
(by volume)

That should enable the mixture to provide adequate moisture without becoming waterlogged and staying wet for long periods. It should feel coarse and gritty and should not form a ball when squeezed. I add about 1 teaspoon of dolomite lime to about 5 litres of the mixture to provide calcium for strong teeth and bones and magnesium for bright eyes and a bushy tail. Whether they grow because of it or in spite of it I can’t say.

Keep in mind that I grow outdoors in a bright, hot southern hemisphere climate. Indoors one may need to slightly increase the quantities of non absorbent stone and decrease the amount of soil in the mixture because it may not dry out as fast. It will always involve some trial and error.

Enjoy planting!

Update 26 June 2012
I've increased the amount of washed small gravel to 2 parts.